Rolls-Royce And Hennessy Offer Their Perspectives On The Future Of Luxury
The brands agree that customers should receive exactly the kind of experience they want, but be surprised along the way
The Baccarat Hotel in New York City was the scene of a gathering of two iconic luxury brands. Rolls-Royce and Hennessy paired up for an evening to share perspectives on the Future of Luxury. The connection between manufacturing automobiles and crafting cognac might not be immediately apparent, however, each shares a long history and a persistent dedication to craft.
Maurice Hennessy, Global Brand Ambassador and eighth generation of the Hennessy family was on hand to speak about the history and how cognac appreciation is evolving in the 21st century. The origins of Hennessy date back to 1765 in Cognac, France. Richard Hennessy began making brandies and exporting them back to his native Ireland and England. You might not know that cognac originates from white wine. In 1870 Hennessy X.O became the first cognac classified as “extra old” because it is aged up to 30 years. The tradition of drinking cognac is at room temperature in a tulip glass.
While X.O is revered as the most traditional product Hennessy offers, the brand is encouraging people to consider new ways of personalizing drinking it. That is happening through mixologists blending it with different ingredients, such as green tea ice cubes or suggesting it be paired with food instead of as an after-dinner drink. Part of Hennessy’s modernization of cognac is due to exposure to a broader audience.
Hennessy spoke about how cognac has evolved from a regional spirit into a global luxury brand. It is gaining recognition in places like China but he says that is primarily due to the prestige and cache of the brand. It is more about the expense of the product and how beautiful the bottle looks over the taste at this point. There’s not yet the sort of tradition based around cognac appreciation as has evolved over several hundred years in Europe.
Another way Hennessy is remaining current is with artist collaborations for label designs. They recently commissioned Sao Paolo-based Os Gemeos, identical twin brothers Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo, who began with graffiti and are now contemporary multimedia artists. The label design aimed to represent traditional painting in a new way through a “happy and colorful landscape where everything is connected,” as the brothers describe it.
Gerry Spahn, Head of Corporate Communications For Rolls-Royce North America, said that personalization was a core value of the Rolls-Royce brand. Every car is tailor-built to each customer’s specifications. That level of personal interaction with creating the product they are buying is an experience Rolls wants to retain and emphasize in the future.
Fitting the car to a an individual’s personality is something Rolls-Royce strives to do. They are in the unique position among automakers to offer some special, special editions. Following the fashion industry, they will introduce ‘Dawn – Inspired by Fashion,’ a 2017 Spring/Summer range of couture inspired models.
The brand’s color and material division, known as the House of Rolls-Royce, developed the collection which will only be available during that season. The design team started with a Rolls-Royce dawn in Arctic white and developed three color accent options, Mugello Red, Cobalto Blue or Mandarin. Each interior is accented fashion-inspired detailing including embroidery and piping. Rolls-Royce is aiming the models at fashion arbiters and style-leader customers.